A new study published Aug. 9 in Neurology found an association between long–term proton-pump inhibitors (PPI) use and dementia. This was an observational study and does not prove that acid reflux drugs cause dementia.
“In this study, the authors note that long term PPI use, defined as more than 4.5 years of use, was associated with dementia. It is important to note, however, that this does not necessarily mean that PPIs cause dementia. With observational studies, there is an inherent risk of bias and confounding, as the authors’ report. Some of these confounders include H. pylori status, vitamin B12 deficiency, depression and socioeconomic status.” says Fouad J. Moawad, MD, graduate of the AGA Future Leaders Program and gastroenterologist at Scripps Health in San Diego, California.
A 2017 study led by Andrew T. Chan, MD, MPH, of Mass General Brigham, Boston, examined the association between proton pump inhibitor use and cognitive function in women. The investigators found no “convincing association between PPI use and cognitive function. Our data do not support the suggestion that PPI use increases dementia risk.”
A new article in press in Gastroenterology by Raaj S. Mehta and colleagues also studied this issue and concluded that in adults 65 years of age or older, PPIs were not associated with dementia or decline in cognition over time. These data provide reassurance about the safety of long-term use of PPIs among older adults.